Alice is a competent, but very unhappy woman, that fulfills her empty life with alcohol, and a succession of afflictive and regretful one night stands. When her senior editor asks her to take charge of a new edition of the book Waking Eyes, by author Milan Daneker, her life suddenly becomes more inhospitable and chaotic. Trough flashbacks, we learn that her parents were literary agents, and her father was the sole responsible for the successful bestselling career of author Milan Daneker. From then on, the story is intertwined with present day events, and recurrent flashbacks, upon which we understand that Alice, in her teenage years, being always surrounded by writers and intellectuals, developed very early her own writing skills, and started to nurture the possibility of a literary career. When the soon-to-be-notorious author Milan Daneker is introduced to the young Alice, he is instantly attracted to her, and using literature as a pretext, he tells her that he wishes to read her manuscripts, but in fact he is looking for an excuse to get close to her. Becoming a literary mentor to the young Alice, both soon began a teacher and pupil relationship, seeing each other almost every day. Daneker starts to give literary advices to the young Alice, and not long after that, he starts abusing her physically, turning her mind into a whole new set of confused feelings. After some encounters, Alice tells everything to her parents, that confronts Daneker. Giving a sordid excuse, he dismisses all that she told them as a lie, saying that she is probably too impressed with him, a much older and fascinating man. When her parents choose not to believe her, Alice becomes very distressed and traumatized.
Through another flashback, we learn that Milan Daneker not just abused her, but plagiarized her literary works as well, incorporating some of her texts into his most famous novel, Waking Eyes. When Milan Daneker gives his first reading session to a crowd in a bookshop, she becomes terrifyingly disturbed when she listens her own work in his book, being excruciatingly hurt by his lack of ethics and morals, struck hard by the brutal feeling of having her own words painfully stolen. More shocking indeed, comes the fact that Alice was incorporated as a character in the book, hence the title of the movie, The Girl in the Book.
In the present day, when Alice’s boyfriend finally forgives her for cheating him, Alice decides to take her life back on track, and the only way she finds appropriate for doing this is finally confronting Milan Daneker. One day, when she comes to his house, she clarifies everything that was disturbing her, and spits it out on his face all the wrongdoings that he did to her in the past, finally being able to set herself free from his invisible chains, severing ties with Daneker for good. The audience also learns that Daneker was possibly a mediocre author and a literary fraud all the time, lacking real talent as a writer, as the books that he published after Waking Eyes were all commercial failures. The success of his most famous novel was probably all inspired by Alice herself, as a character, and also by her plagiarized text. In the end, her boyfriend gives her a hug, and, coming up with the correct conclusion, finally understands what she has been going through, saying “You’re the girl in the book”, to which she replies “not anymore”.
The partial linearity of the story, always featuring the constant interchangeable connection of the present day with the flashbacks can be tiresome at times, as you may easily lose your patience with so many roads going back. Nonetheless, this artifice serves very well to the plot, as you can accompany Alice’s journey through her ordeals in life without hard waste.
Although The Girl in the Book is really a very good movie, you will had, inevitably, several times throughout the story, the feeling that you have seen this same exact plot in a lot of other movies, a hundred times before. A little exhausting and obvious in some points, The Girl in the Book is a good movie, that escapes the drama clichés easily, with a little degree of originality. Nevertheless, you will have that sensation in some moments that the movie seems exactly like another chapter of the boring and old soap opera that you used to see with your grandmother, when you were a teenager. It is a good movie, but it is far from being great. Although it is compelling, dramatic and profound, at some point you realize that this is just another movie that complies with the regular standards of the genre, showing a decent level of technical proficiency, which is no hard task for the most professional companies of the movie industry. But the picture per se will hardly achieve a remarkable score in the personal evaluation of anyone that chooses to see it, since it is filled with a lot of the sticky elements that fulfills the plot of a large amount of boring and ridiculous afternoon TV shows. Okay, here, it is portrayed in a much more decent manner, with a high level of competent skills, but anyway, in the end, all the good story flows in a common ground floor, giving you the impression that you are watching a very predictable and lengthy melodrama, hardly worthwhile remembering it. Regardless, it is a good and very well done drama movie, that unfortunately fails to be more than that. My rate for The Girl in the Book is three and a half stars.